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Author: Susan Salk

A warm community ‘hug’ for Italian concept

A warm community ‘hug’ for Italian concept

When oceanographer Christina Carollo decided to take the plunge into the hospitality business, even her business school education did not prepare her for the choppy waters that lay ahead. The year 2020 was, to put it mildly, not kind. Government-imposed lockdowns shuttered her Italian concept Ambrogia Caffé & Enoteca, and most tragically, her chef was killed in an automobile accident. “After my chef passed away, there was a point where I considered giving the keys back to my landlord,” Carollo…

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Big Texas concept thrives in Frisco

Big Texas concept thrives in Frisco

The Stonebriar Country Club of Frisco, Texas is its own private world. And bills itself on being a “home away from home” for its members. On this expansive property there are two 18-hole golf courses, eight tennis courts, a Class III swimming pool with two diving boards and staffed with lifeguards. And a food and beverage experience for all moods and times of day. Built in 1988, the club was a cornerstone of the massive development of the high-end residential…

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The Yellow Carrot & a mission of joy

The Yellow Carrot & a mission of joy

“It’s a crazy story!” she begins. “I’d had a few restaurants, one I’d named Café Sari, and everyone thought it was an Indian restaurant, which it wasn’t.  “At another point I was a caterer who flew around the country on assignments because my work was in such high demand. I was a very successful pastry chef with 25 cupcake flavors, 15 cookie flavors and 10 varieties of cakes. “And one day I decided I wanted to open a concept that…

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Bridge over troubled waters

Bridge over troubled waters

A solid, lattice-truss bridge in the iconic Eli Whitney style, which once served only as a beautiful, covered walkway for restaurant patrons, was transformed during government lockdown measures into a means of survival for a 75-year-old destination restaurant. Festooned in twinkling white lights that shown like fireflies at night, the covered bridge at Bull Run Restaurant had a wait-list every night of the week as soon as outdoor dining was approved, says owner Alison Tocci. “When the pandemic hit, we…

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Up in Alaska Jens’ Restaurant reels ’em in

Up in Alaska Jens’ Restaurant reels ’em in

In Alaska, where the short growing season for produce is offset by the sheer abundance of the world’s freshest salmon and halibut, Nancy Alip began mastering her culinary skills by age 16. Though she dismisses the notion that she was a natural cook, Alip caught the cooking bug as a teenager and never looked back. Her career since 2002 taken her from line-cook to co-owner, and finally to becoming full owner of Jens’ Restaurant in 2016. “My family has been…

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Carmine’s of Candleworks shines on

Carmine’s of Candleworks shines on

During a dark time, a strategic restauranteur with three popular concepts in historic coastal New Bedford, Mass., had a bright idea. The shuttered doors of a restaurant in the the old Candleworks Building, where products were once built to “light the world,” now cast a shadow on the neighborhood where Howie Mallowes and his partner Alfred Peters were running three successful concepts: Rose Alley Ale House, The Vault Music Hall & Pub, and others. “I didn’t like seeing a closed…

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Busboy to CEO

Busboy to CEO

Al Thomas began in restaurants at the ‘bottom of the bottom’ — “I was so low on the food chain I had to work up to becoming a dishwasher.” As a boy, he couldn’t wait to launch himself into restaurants. He got his feet wet at age 13 working in a seafood store and mini market. “I loved it! I sold fish over the counter all summer.” At age 14, the budding entrepreneur was doing cleanup work at 48-year-old Sperry’s,…

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New opportunity bubbles up in 1920s landmark

New opportunity bubbles up in 1920s landmark

Beneath a chandelier laced with faceted crystals reflecting a bygone age, a room is steeped in 1920s history, while fresh opportunity bubbles up for a female entrepreneur, so filled with optimism. Stacey Gibson, who co-owns Park Avenue Fine Wines of Portland, OR, with partner Neil Thompson, enjoys the rise of her career as sommelier-turned-business woman with enthusiasm and intensity, “Wine, for me, evokes an image of beautiful vineyards, and late-night conversations over wine and meals,” Gibson says. “I just love…

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Painted Fish Café is in the swim

Painted Fish Café is in the swim

Tom Jankovich looked out the window of his North Carolina restaurant concept and saw a line of cars heading his way. “All of a sudden, there they were!” Jankovich says. Coming from the mountainous Bannerelik region of his state, on word-of-mouth news that the longtime country club chef had opened his own restaurant, loyal fans and patrons found their way to the Painted Fish Café without so much as a billboard to lure them in. But nothing in Jankovich’s story…

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Tea, with a squeeze of optimism

Tea, with a squeeze of optimism

“Tea is just wonderful!” says Melissa Oraibi. “We’ve found a way to infuse a modern flair to classical tea at the Wenham Tea House (Wenham, MA) and we’re appealing to a wide spectrum— young, crossover customers who come for our full lunch and dinner menus to these die-hard ladies who “like to do lunch, baby.” And many in between. As the world opens up to life-after-Covid, Melissa and her husband and chef Brenden Crocker are brimming with optimism. The new…

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